Mysteries in Paradise hosts a weekly meme on mystery authors and books, highlighting a different letter each week. Beginning January 11, 2010, posts with the letter M, for author first or last name or book title are being collected here. This is my first week participating, and I'm going for the double M:
M is for Miyuki Miyabe
Miyuki Miyabe is one of Japan's most popular contemporary writers. She writes mysteries, science fiction, and fantasy novels. Only 6 of her books have been translated into English, the most famous being the mystery All She Was Worth. I've read three of her mysteries now, and I've enjoyed all of them, including the most recent, Crossfire, a Christmas present, review below.
my reviews of
All She Was Worth
Crossfire by Miyuki Miyabe, 404 pages
translated by Deborah Stuhr Iwabuchi and Anna Husson Isozaki
Japanese Literature Challenge
Sometimes noncombatants get caught in the crossfire.
The back cover describes this as Death Wish meets Firestarter, and Miyabe includes a nice reference to Stephen King within the novel. Detective Chikako Ishizu of the Tokyo Arson division is called in to investigate the death by fire of some local hoodlums. In the parallel story, Junko is on a mission to avenge crimes and mete out justice. She has pyrokinesis, the ability to start fires with her mind. Adding the touch of paranormal activity makes this mystery just a little different and intriguing.
The story is told from these two perspectives, and deals with finding justice, from the police and from a societal point of view. Both women deal with their role. There are several other interesting characters, some great twists and turns in the plot, and a look at a dark side of Japan.
Miyabe makes some statements about vengeance and punishments, and whose role it is, much like she does in her other books. (Shadow Family made comments about credit and consumers.) Who gets to decide what the punishment is? Who decides how evil a person is and who deserves to die?
Thanks to tanabata who sent me this wonderful book from Japan for the Blogger Holiday Swap, it made it all the more special to read it.